There is no escaping the overwhelming amount of nutrition advice we are exposed to on a daily basis. Every magazine cover, tv show & website headline has a contradictory must do tip for achieving fat loss success. It’s confusing to say the least! All this miscellaneous info can make you feel like you are ALWAYS doing something wrong & if you can’t be perfect, why even bother?
Let’s take a step back & bust through a few of the ever prevalent nutrition myths that you can official cross off your worry list:
MYTH 1. You must eat every 2-3 hours to stoke your metabolism: This approach may work for some but the basic science behind this recommendation has been dispelled. Finding the meal size & frequency that is conducive to your lifestyle is the better way to go. Of course I don’t necessarily recommend going 8-10 hours between breakfast & dinner. However, play with what works for you! If you feel better eating 3 bigger balanced meals a day, are less tempted to make poor snacking decisions & can stick with it, do that. If you enjoy a snack or two between meals & it fits with your daily schedule, factor that into your daily total & chow down. Just know that overall intake is far more important than any perfect number of meals to eat in a day.
MYTH 2. 1200 calories a day is the perfect number to achieve weight loss: This arbitrary number has been thrown around for years as the perfect fat loss calorie consumption formula & is just plain wrong. Almost all of us have a basal metabolic rate (BMR) that’s higher than 1200 calories per day. That means if you sat in bed all day long, your body still utilizes more than 1200 calories to perform basic functions. Calorie needed is completely individual based on height, weight, body comp, exercise, lifestyle, health history & goals. If you automatically cut your calories to the lowest possible intake, you have nowhere to adjust once your body downregulates to its new norm. Finding your maintenance weight & eating at a small caloric deficit is the best way to start. Leaving room to tweak if/& when you plateau while still feel energetic enough to get in those workouts.
MYTH 3. Low fat, low carb or high protein is king: AKA FAD DIETS. The popular diet trends change every few years. A decade of low fat & fat free foods have recently been scientifically shown to be ineffective, unnecessary & flat out unhealthy. The newest trends lean towards super low carb or high protein as the quick fix weight loss solution. Do people have some success with these? Sure for a period of time. If you cut out a whole macronutrient group, you are likely to lower your overall calorie intake & lose “weight” in the short term. However, I see over & over the huge rebound effect from super low carb diets! Aka you lose 40lbs only to gain 60lbs back in 1/2 the time. Or even worse, having them cause hormonal dysregulation, loss of energy, strength, muscle mass & more. It’s why it’s crucial to ask who are you, what’s your activity, health markers & goals? Don’t arbitrarily throw out a whole food group without fully understanding the ramification. Somewhere in the middle is what’s best for most. Try out small tweaks to see what balance makes you feel & perform best.
MYTH 4. Calories over nutritional quality: HELLO HUNGER! So as long as you stay under the 1200 calories of granola bars, low fat popcorn, frozen meals & sugar free chocolate (eww!) you will be able to keep dieting, lose weight & all will be well with the world. Yet 30 minutes after devouring that low fat breakfast muffin that fit within your allotted 300 calories, your belly is growling. You drink water, distract yourself, eat a whole cucumber & still you cannot hold out & succumb to the nearest donut in the breakdown. Another fail. Sigh.. This is because you need a higher quality nutritional intake to feel full & satisfied. I can guarantee you will not feel full as long eating 400 calories of poptarts as you would with a balanced breakfast of eggs, fruit & avocado. Quality counts a lot more than quantity when we are talking sustainability.
MYTH 5. Eating after 5pm will make you fat: OR you must eat within 30 minutes of waking or your metabolism will cease to work. Meal timing has been proven to be much less important to fat loss then it’s portrayed in the mainstream media. I see too many people getting wrapped up in the perfect meal timing instead of quality, activity, how they feel & what they can maintain with ease. These are all far more important factors to base your meal frequency & timing on. Personally I’m not super hungry in the morning. Shoving down food doesn’t make me feel good & I definitely don’t enjoy it. I often workout, walk the dog & jump in a shower before I eat my first meal of the day. I also eat a nice carb-filled snack right before bed. Guess what?? It has not made me fat or affected any goals related to. Does that mean you should do the same? Not necessarily.
You may have noticed a theme in this myth busting post, as I often sound like a broken record on this topic. The main message is that we are all individuals & should eat accordingly. Yes, there are general guidelines I always recommend such as eat mostly unprocessed foods, move daily, prioritize sleep & work on stress reduction. Don’t get caught up in all the diet dogma that is seen in the mainstream weight loss world. Just because it’s on a magazine doesn’t make it true. Listen to your body & find the foods that make you feel amazing!!